7 Reasons Why: Books vs Bikram

This week is shaping up to be a good one. The past week or 2 have been a little stressful, some personal stuff, some work stuff. But this week I'm back on track with The Revengeful, with Bloggy, and something else I've been neglecting--Bikram yoga.

I'm a huge proponent of Bikram, also known as "hot yoga." But it's been a while since I've practiced regularly. I finally got back in the studio this week, and was struck by some of the similarities between practicing Bikram and writing a book. So kids, it's time for another installment of 7 Reasons Why: If you're a writer, you might also enjoy Bikram yoga.

1. You dig the love/hate relationship

I can't say enough good things about Bikram. No other workout matches up to it. In 90 minutes you will detox, de-stress, and de-flab. A month of practicing it regularly and you're guaranteed to go up a few notches on the hot bod scale. Pretty much a no-brainer. So why don't I go more consistently? Well, because all of those benefits don't come without a degree of sacrifice. Just like writing. Which leads me to my next reason...

2. You're possibly a masochist

When it's a hundred degrees and you're in a posture designed to cut off the blood flow to your legs, you will likely ask yourself "What the hell did I get myself into?" This is a question you may also ask yourself as you sort through a hundred pages of manuscript, trying to figure out how Danny makes an appearance in chapter 14 when you already killed him off in the first 30 pages. Bikram is torture. Writing a book is torture. But you know you love it.

3. You don't believe in half-assing it

If you want to be successful at Bikram or writing, you have to push yourself, even when you really, really don't want to. Sure, I procrastinate. But when I'm in, I'm all in. There's no point in walking into the yoga studio or putting pen to paper if you're just going through the motions.

4. The smallest amount of progress makes you giddy

There's this one posture that I have particular difficulty with. Salabhasana, or Half Locust Pose. It's supposed to look like this:

But I look nothing like those two lovely ladies. I've always had a weak lower back, and it's a miracle if I can get my feet more than a couple inches off the ground. After my hiatus, I could barely get the tops of my feet from touching the mat. So as pathetic as a couple inches sound, I'll be doing cartwheels when I get back to that level of progress.

Kind of like when I sit at my computer for hours but only come up with 500 words that are worth using. But hey, that's 2 pages I didn't have the day before. Yippee!

5. Getting back on the horse scares the crap out of you

Wanna know why I went half a year without stepping into the yoga studio? Because I went a few weeks without stepping into the yoga studio. Once you lose momentum, it can be daunting, facing that idea of diving back in. And the more time that passes, the harder it gets.

The past 2 weeks I haven't been able to work on my WIP due to aforementioned personal and work stresses. I was terrified to open it back up, felt like it had been 2 years. But once I did, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. And now I can get back into it with renewed energy.

Lesson: Setbacks are inevitable, but they are only as big as you let them be.

6. You are a master of procrastination

If you're a master of procrastination when it comes to opening the Word doc, you'll be an expert in coming up with excuses to avoid going to yoga.

There's a great quote from Mad Men in which Don Draper stands up for his creative team when a tight-wad exec complains about wasted hours/dollars. "Let them be unproductive until they are." You can't always force productivity, not if you want quality results. Just don't get stuck on the unproductive part. I think being a successful writer is being able to balance discipline without completely overriding the creative flow. Sometimes your brain has to work things out on its own before you can get it down on paper. At least this is what I like to tell myself whenever I feel guilty about SCUMPing.

7. You know you've got the goods.

Okay, so it rarely feels like this. Most of the time we're questioning our own sanity, wondering why we're pursuing this goal when 90% of the time we think we suck suck suck. But no matter how much you want to scream at the instructor Openthewindowareyoutryingtosuffocateusyoupsycho?? or how many times you have to hit the delete button only to rewrite the same scene 3 times over, you keep plugging away because, deep down, you know you have it in you. Otherwise you wouldn't keep trying.

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